Parts of Electronic Mail

By Jessica Leigh

Electronic mail, or email, has become one of the most popular forms of communication. Not only does email save time and money, it can also be a great tool for personal as well as business communications. A basic email message is made up of seven parts.

Recipient's Address

The first thing you need to enter when composing an email is the recipient's address. This is entered before you compose the body of the email. This field is usually found in one of the spaces above the message. An example of an email address is: When sending a message to multiple recipients be sure to separate all addresses with a comma.

Cc and Bcc

Another option when sending a message to multiple recipients is to use the Cc, or carbon copy, and Bcc, blind carbon copy fields. When using the Cc feature, all recipients can see the email addresses of everyone the message was sent to. If you want your communication to be more private, choose the Bcc and the identities of the other recipients will not be shown.

Date and Time Stamp

The date and time an email was sent is usually included automatically somewhere in the message.

Subject Line

The subject line is the first part of your email that the recipient will see. When entering the subject line be sure to include important information such as what the email is about. If you are too vague or don't include any subject line at all, your message could be mistaken for spam and deleted without ever being read.


The body is where you actually write the message that you want sent. Your message can be anything from a professional memo to a note to friend or family member. Try to avoid writing too much in an email and keep it limited to one screen's length. If you have a lot of information that needs to be sent include it as an attached file.


Attachments are similar to enclosures in traditional mail. If you have files that you want to share with your recipient's you can include them as attachments to the email. Use caution when opening attachments sent to you as they can contain viruses, and never open an attachment from somebody you don't know.


Some email systems allow you to enter a signature that will appear automatically at the bottom of every message you send. This feature is optional and can be turned off and on as needed.